April 11, 2022
For our last couple of days in Holbrook, AZ we entertained the possibility of purchasing a piece of land containing painted desert. As it turns out, undeveloped land is cheap and plentiful in this area and you are allowed to do just about anything you want with the land you purchase. We looked at a few large plots that were 20-40 acres in Holbrook near the Uranium Springs camp we visited. We talked to a man in the neighborhood who operates Alien Acres, a smallish plot of land where he lives in a school bus with his wife and dog and has built flying saucers on his land as a tourist attraction. He gave us a little alien mascot, told us what it’s like living way out here off a dirt road, and told us there is a vortex here. Do you believe in vortices? I think of vortices as being like healing crystals or the belief that aliens have landed on earth. That is, a belief that has departed from the laws of science and is probably phooey, but interesting to think about at least. And hey, anything spiritual that makes people feel better is never bad. We tried to look at a plot of land in Joseph City, AZ as well, but could not find a road to get to it. We concluded that we could take some time to think about it, but we may make an offer on one parcel we saw. It was very remote and takes about 45 minutes to arrive at from the highway down a rough dirt road. Along this road, there were a few spots where tumbleweeds had piled up to 3 feet tall and completely covered the road. If we purchased this plot, we would park the RV here while we’re in this area, but not live here year round. We know we can fill up a large tank with water in town and there is also a free dump in town so that is all convenient, but we would probably need to rent a Bobcat to clear and level the road before towing our rig down it.
I didn’t get the chance to do a video tour of our neighbor’s home built camper as I had hoped and our video of the park didn’t come out quite as planned as it was too windy to record any audio. Now I know that April in Arizona can be very windy as the seasons change and the pressure systems collide.
Moving day was easy as it was a nice scenic ride that took a few hours-ish. Highway 89 through Northern AZ is beautiful. Maybe one of the most beautiful scenic highways we have been on so far. There are massive and colorful rock formations surrounding you as you make your way along the road. We pulled into our new campsite on BLM land in Marble Canyon, AZ in the late afternoon after visiting a campground in Lees Ferry 15 minutes away to fill up our water tank. This area is surrounded on three sides by the stunning Vermillion Cliffs. Marble Canyon is actually the start of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and it is just as spectacular. We had to spend our first couple of days scouting out the area (as has become our routine). I stocked up on groceries in Page, AZ which was a beautiful 45 minute drive up the mountain. We also took a long drive back down to Flagstaff to pick up some good quality hiking gear. After Luke’s adventure wilderness camping in the National Park we realized he needed better lightweight gear for overnight camping and hiking. One would think that in this area there would be a number of hiking outfitters, but nothing is ever close by in Arizona so we went over 2 hours to the closest REI. Hiking equipment is never cheap so we decided to skip doing photo tours of the slot canyons in Page while here since we’ve done them before and they are pricey.
We did spend a little time checking out sights near our campsite yesterday and we were not at all disappointed. Marble Canyon is majestic. The Colorado River runs through it and is a vibrant green from the algae growing in it. There are ancient cliff dwellings from the Pueblan people in walking distance and precariously balanced boulders. We have a couple of little cafes and a laundry nearby. We had a fun surprise when we drove just a few miles to walk across the Navajo Bridge which crosses the Colorado. We learned that the endangered California Condor nests here and we saw 5 of them. That’s right, 5! Out of only 504 in existence. They are large and ugly, looking a bit like vultures, but it’s really cool to see something that came this close to extinction and is prehistoric. These birds existed when dinosaurs were alive and I just think that’s incredible. One even flew right over our heads. They have a six foot wingspan and giant feet. I did not catch any great photos of these beasts in flight so I’m sharing a couple of pictures Luke took of a condor and me at the bridge. This place is going to be great. I hope we can see all the cool stuff here before our 14 days is up! I hope you also enjoy my photos of Marble Canyon, the cliff dwellings, and balanced rocks.